The Metropolitan Museum of Art is proving that art and technology don’t have to be in conflict with a new public API, launched last week. Digital archivists at the museum have been photographing and cataloging the collection since 2009, and now over 406,000 art images are accessible online.
The best part? The images of the works are available for use without copyright or restriction.
In the official statement, the Met said:
The Met Collection API is another foundational step in our Open Access program, helping make the Museum’s collection one of the most accessible, discoverable, and useful on the internet. The Met Collection API is where all makers, creators, researchers, and dreamers can now connect to the most up-to-date data and images of artworks in The Met collection, representing five thousand years of human history.
The Met’s director, Max Hollein, stated:
In many ways we’ve been working towards this for a while, building on the launch of Open Access. We hope people will be creative and hands-on with our collection, emboldened to engage with it in new ways, and—through the data that is now available for every object, painting, sculpture in the public domain—we hope there will be a deep exploration of and fresh appreciation for the historical context, beauty, and resources that exist within this unparalleled collection.
This project from the Met is the perfect example of creating an online presence that matches the mission of the organization. Not only does the Met make this works of art accessible to the public at its physical location, but now, works of art are accessible online to people around the world.